Serious doubts raised over Government’s grand 2030 EV vision

12 Aug 2019

Image: © David.Sch/

A senior civil servant and car industry representatives have warned that the Government’s plan to have almost 1m EVs on Irish roads by 2030 is not possible.

In June, the Government’s Climate Action Plan was released, with the goal of having just under 1m electric vehicles (EVs) in Ireland by 2030. By that year, a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars will be introduced.

However, according to The Sunday Times, secretary general of the Department of Transport, Graham Doyle, has said that the Government’s dream can only be achieved by bringing the ban forward to 2024. There are currently only around 12,500 EVs in Ireland, and it is believed a number of TDs and figures from the motor industry have also expressed concern that the target is unachievable.

Doyle’s comments were written in a letter – obtained under freedom of information – that was sent to Mark Griffin, secretary general of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment. Writing to Griffin, Doyle said that about 1m cars are sold in a period of eight years and even if the Government took dramatic measures, it would not be in line with expected trends.

Who will be accountable?

For example, Doyle wrote that Ireland would be expected to compete against other EU nations “to secure our slice of this limited availability of EV cars and vans” as EVs are only expected to make up 37.5pc of the total cars available by 2030. Under recent accountability rules proposed by the Government for departments missing climate targets, the Department of Transport could be penalised if the EV target is not met.

Doyle added that a more realistic target would be 650,000 EVs by 2030 and 1m by 2035. The Climate Action Plan sets out to have 936,000 EVs – including 550,000 non-hybrid EVs – by the 2030 deadline.

However, a Government insider defended the target, saying the analysis used to create the figure “identified the least cost, least burden measures to reach our commitments”.

Meanwhile, Brian Cooke, director general of the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI), said the organisation was “very surprised” by the increase of the target to nearly 1m under the Climate Action Plan.

“We would need to see much more flesh on the bones of the proposal but, I have to say, we don’t think it is achievable,” Cooke said.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic